Kim Philby is arguably the most famous – or should I say infamous? – secret agent of all times. He may not be as well known as James Bond, but in contrast to 007, Philby was a real-life spy and the most successful member of the Cambridge Five, a group of spies recruited by the Russians to pass information from the UK to the Soviet Union during the Second World War through 1950s. A charming and brilliant Cambridge graduate, he quickly rose to the top of the counterintelligence unit at the MI6. He became the head of the anti-Soviet unit, served as the MI6 chief in Istanbul and ultimately became MI6’s Washington-based liaison with the CIA. Having his confidantes at MI6 and becoming close friends with James Angleton, a rising star at the CIA . While his betrayal got some of his colleagues into big trouble and took several Soviet defectors to their deaths, nobody suspected Philby for years. And when some at the MI5 flagged him, his colleagues at the MI6 and the CIA came to the rescue. When they finally had the evidence to confront him, Philby had already provided secret information to the Soviets for 30 years!
A new Fan Fun series in 2021 is the Movie of The Month. And we kick off the series today with Our Kind of Traitor, a movie adapted for the big screen from a John le Carre book. This review is our tribute to the great author who passed away in December 2020. RIP.
Adaptations of le Carré books on big and small screen, as far as my experience goes, are my kind of movies. They are not typical action/fantasy movies with lots of stunts and special effects. They give you intricate story lines, clever conversations, fishy agendas and gray areas instead. If you have seen The Constant Gardener, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or The Night Manageryou know what I am talking about. And if you have not seen any le Carré earlier, Our Kind of Traitor is a good place to start!
Taking inspiration from Vicky’s fun retelling of walking in the footsteps of Milo Shakespeare, here’s me walking in some of the footsteps taken by Damian in his home town. Enjoy!
Gotta love it when a passing thought from one post leads to an entire new fully-fleshed-out post. I had remarked, during my two-week tour in London, I was reminded often of places I’d seen Damian in images and film. In particular, when I was walking from Shakespeare’s Globe west towards Blackfriars Bridge along the Thames Path I looked down to the river and saw the moss covered walls where Damian and Helen leaned and loafed for a photoshoot, as well as the pier under which Hector made a phone call in Our Kind of Traitor.
That bit of Proustian mind-wandering lead Damianista to the thought, “Hey, why not do a post where we follow along in Damian’s footsteps throughout London?” “Isn’t that a bit stalkery?” I worried. “Nah,” we both concluded. Happily, Damian knows we are the most harmless variety of stalkers he could ever have. So, here it is, a catalog of all the places and sites where we “saw” Damian, characters he’s played, and stories he’s been a part of in his beloved home town.
Billions premiered on Showtime on January 17, 2016, exactly five years ago TODAY.
Now that the vaccination against Covid-19 is underway across the US as well as across the world, we know that there is a light at the end of this long and dark tunnel! And, with that light, comes the hope that they will resume filming Billions Season 5 as soon as it is safe to work in New York. Brian Koppelman, the Billions co-creator and show runner, confirmed this on Twitter. Continue reading “On the Horizon in 2021: Billions Season 5 Episodes 8 – 12”
Anything that can render history and literature accessible to the masses plus get children excited about learning is a winner in my book. Combine that with cameo appearances by Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory and what you’ve got is a must-see treat.
The comedy, Bill, put together by the folks who do the BBC series Horrible Histories, is a good example. The film imagines what may have happened during William Shakespeare’s “Lost Years”, the time during which he transformed from a married father of three in bucolic Stratford to the greatest dramatist of all time in London.